Those who did not get braces growing up often talk about how they are too old for braces. Now we feel like this is something that no one believes, but because of social pressures or cosmetic concerns, this is where the bus stops for many adults who are interested in straightening their teeth.
If you’re reading this and your concerned about getting braces, please take it from me. Its okay to feel a little sheepish about getting braces, how it will look and if people will still find you attractive.
These are all very serious concerns that you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to have.
However, more and more adults are going to orthodontists because of a number of advances in orthodontic technology.
Orthodontic Alternatives to Braces for Adults
For most their first and only instinct for orthodontic appliances is braces. The braces most people think about are the traditional metal braces that are often portrayed in cartoons, with the most famous being the girl from Finding Nemo. You know the one, the one with the headgear, ponytails and couldn’t stop tapping the glass of the aquarium
Other alternatives exist for adults including:
Invisalign: Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners. This is the most popular alternative to braces to the public. Many love that there are no metal brackets or bulky wires that crowd the teeth. In addition, food restrictions of normal traditional braces aren’t as prevalent with Invisalign.
Clear Braces: Clear braces are a popular alternative as well. They use the same technology of traditional braces but also have similar to benefits of clear aligners. The brackets stay in your mouth so there is no chance of human error while having a less obvious cosmetic appearance to others.
Damon Braces: The Damon System of braces emphasizes providing faster treatment for orthodontic patients. Patients with Damon braces come in for fewer appointments and wear braces for less time. You have the choice between silver and clear braces. Both options are designed to be smaller and less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
All three options are popular for our adult patients who are nervous to get into orthodontic treatment. There are many options that exist. Where most patients go wrong is that they make the decision that they couldn’t bear to wear braces and that means thats it.
For yourself or if you know someone, encourage them to go to the orthodontist. Technology is improving every single day and there are a multitude of options that can be pursued.
What Can Prohibit Me from Straightening My Teeth
There are certain factors that can stop adults from obtaining orthodontic treatment. It isn’t age that is what you should be worried about, but rather its your oral health.
If you have poor gum health or have gum disease it must be treated first before moving forward with orthodontic care. Once the teeth and gums are healthy, they are then able to withstand the pressure and force of orthodontic treatment.
Adult patients are also susceptible to certain oral conditions that our younger patients don’t often deal with. This can include insufficient bone between the roots, mild gingivitis infections and marginal bone loss.
This is where consultation with your general dentist, in addition to an initial consultation with an orthodontist is best. Go to your orthodontist and share with them your goals and expectations. They will do an examination to determine if your are a viable candidate or if you need to take care of some things first.
If you are to strengthen your oral health first, this is when you want to have an open dialogue with your general dentist. Let them know you have certain goals and that you are trying to get orthodontic care.
They can then talk to you about dietary adjustments and oral care habits that can prepare you.
How is Orthodontic Treatment Different for Adults
Where orthodontic treatment does differ from teens is the growth of teeth. For adults, their teeth have stopped growing and therefore are not as prone to want to move. When teeth are growing, it’s like training a puppy. The teeth can be moved and forced into positions a little easier.
Adult teeth have set in place and have been for years. In addition the aging of tissue causes teeth to take longer to adjust to new positions. Therefore, they have years and years of sitting in their same spots. Braces and orthodontic treatment then has to work against this and work harder to move the teeth to the position they need to be.
For adults, this can mean adults can expect to wear braces anywhere from 18 months to 3 years.
Psychological and Social Considerations
With most orthodontic care, it can get pretty functional and down in the weeds about health. However, something we don’t want to ignore is that there is truly the psychological factors that we discussed in the beginning.
Unfortunately, braces and orthodontic care is associated with youth, being unattractive and somehow being a geek.
These are things that just have become popular culture and tropes that can have a detrimental effect on those who seek care. A confident smile is one that can help people feel more confident in themselves which leads to better performance in their work and social life.
The lingering thoughts about what others would say or think often cause people to wait, which becomes years and sadly decades before they get up the courage to take that first step and visit the office.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your orthodontist about these concerns. This is something that orthodontists do consider and are deeply concerned about. Dr. Dan, is all about making sure that the day to day life of his patients are ones that they can enjoy and just have a good time.
We’re all here to have a good time, but if we’re stuck with something we don’t understand or are scared of, things can get crummy. If your thinking about getting braces we encourage you to talk to as many people as you know who are adults and have braces. If you don’t know anyone, reach out to us and we can put you in touch with people that are on braces.
By simply talking to others who have gone through the experience, you don’t feel like its something ostracizing or scary, but rather something that we all have gone through.
The psychological concern for braces is a very real one and it’s not something that should be taken lightly, however our office’s work isn’t just braces, but it’s also working with you on building comfort and confidence through the process!
If you are considering visiting an orthodontist or getting braces, feel free to contact us through call or text!